To the east of the island of Lefkada lies an islet which has been associated, more than any other, with the concept of a private paradise and the legend of Aristotle Onassis.
Until recently there had been just one photograph from Scorpios’ interior, that of its owner’s wedding ceremony with Jackie Kennedy, the widow of the late president of the USA, on the 20th of October 1968.
Despite the fact that publicity served as a powerful magnet for Onassis, he managed to keep this possession away from the voracious curiosity of the Press. Any information that may have seeped through, excited people’s imagination and created the necessary myth.
Besides, the shipowner from Smyrna knew how to manipulate the neighbouring island of Lefkada, to thank the authorities for the valuable resource they offered him: water.
It is true that when he had bought the barren island in the Ionian Sea for 3,000,000 drachmas, everyone thought he was out of his mind. Some years later, the same people realised that willpower can work wonders. The arid island had turned into an earthly garden of Eden.
Paparazzi from all around the world swarmed and camped at the village of Nidri in Lefkada, focusing their telephoto lenses on the famous guests hosted by Onassis on various occasions. Yet the happy years did not last long.
First came the mysterious death, in a plane crash, of Alexander Onassis in 1973. Next, his father followed, succumbing to his sorrow and longing at the Hôpital Americain de Neuilly two years later. Finally, his daughter Christina died in Buenos Aires; she was only 38 years old. Alexandros Onassis was only 25 when he died. They were all buried at Scorpios.
In 1977, the beloved sister of Onassis, Artemis Garofalidou, invited the director and photographer Vasilis Maros and allowed him for the first time to shoot Scorpios’ interior. This rare material was published in 2009 in a book by Fereniki Publications.
As Onassis’ sister recalls, “I told him ‘Aristos, why are we stopping here?’ ‘I like this place’, he said. Of course, there were hardships, but he managed to rise above them and eventually bought it.
The place was completely neglected when he got it and it took him five whole years to build the roads and all those other things that made the island what it was destined to be. By the time it was finished, he didn’t want it to have too many lights, because he was a simple man. It had enough lights for us to be able to walk around at night.
He had truly loved that island, which was also very beneficial for the nearby island of Lefkada since it offered employment to the local citizens and changed the island’s potential”.
Scorpios feels like taking a step closer to heaven. While walking around in the afternoon, you feel as if the sky is just one breath away.
It is truly a paradise.